Massage therapists who carry creams and lotions as retail products need to have proven ways to introduce them to clients and boost revenue in the process. Using these products during a session sometimes translates into a sale—but what if you offered samples free or for a nominal fee?
To Sell or Not to Sell
That strategy could help grow your income and client base, according to Sara Daly, president of Waterfalls Day Spa in Middlebury, Vermont. Her spa gives away product samples and also sells mini-kits, both of which benefit the business.
“You are showing [clients] that you like the product enough to share it with them for free first,” she said. “Try-before-you-buy works when you know you will see the client again. They get a chance to think about the product and use it.”
Daly said that selling samples might also be a good way to introduce your client to a new product.
Display Your Samples
Once you decide to offer sample sizes, keep a limited supply on display unless you are having a special event, Daly advised. If you have staff members, be sure they know where samples are located and encourage them to offer a sample when appropriate, she added.
Alexis Luczak, owner of Spa Alexis at the Hyatt in Buffalo, New York, also believes in providing samples to clients. She makes them available in the restrooms and at her reception desk.
“This allows your client to get a feel of the product, not just as a massage lotion, but as a hydrating lotion they can use … we have a few different sample products out in the spa,” she said. “The client can choose which scent they like, if they have a preference, for their service. As a therapist, it is also a great way to upsell your service.”
Choose an Ideal Sample Size
Keep sample sizes small, yet large enough for clients to be able to experience the benefits of a product. “I truly only need two or four ounces to know whether or not it is a good product,” said Stephanie Beck, owner of SRB Solutions, an online and social media marketing company. “With facial products, if you want someone to really tell a difference, most of the time they need a one- or two-week supply.”
Beck recommended putting a product tester on display, which allows the client to try a body lotion, massage cream, butter or scrub. “At the very least, they want to smell it prior to purchasing,” she said. When she worked for product manufacturers, Beck said, she found that putting a tester on the shelf sometimes doubled retail sales.
Testers also work well at live events. “If you hand attendees walking by your booth a bunch of samples, they might stop for a few seconds, but most keep going,” Beck said. “If you have an open container and can let them experience it, it keeps them at your booth and allows more time to connect with them.”
Everyone likes a freebie, but judiciously handing out or selling samples, properly displaying them and providing testers may lead to more product sales and a bigger client base.
About the Author
Phyllis Hanlon has written nonfiction articles and book reviews as well as human-interest stories, profiles and award-winning essays. Her specialty areas include health and medicine, religion, education and business. She regularly delights in the joys of massage. She also wrote “Calm with Caution: Aromatherapy Massage and Pregnancy” for massagemag.com.